Review Summary: A droning cavalcade of jazz-based, portentous music comes with one stipulation; plain and simple, it's not as fantastic nor is it as beautiful as it could and should be.
Perhaps I'm not the most objective or qualified person to review this, and perhaps it will come across almost as another an upset fan reviewing an album to elucidate their disappointment. But let me forewarn you, I truly am not disappointed with the overall outcome of this record. I am however disappointed that Kayo Dot seems to have lost the magic present on the cinematic masterpiece that was “Choirs of the Eye,” and has in no other way redeemed themselves for their lack of beauty. Instead, this album is a jazzy, dark, questionable, noir-styled composition that hardly ever climaxes in exchange for a heavy cavalcade of instrumental haze.
Musically, this album has its shining moments, however, it also expands on the most unfortunate tediums that were occasionally present on their back catalog. Whilst most of the album drags on in its undeniably atmospheric, albeit tedious, build-ups, there are the occasional climaxes. These are most present on “The Awkward Wind Wheel” which incorporates portentous strings, urgent rhythms reminiscent of “Manifold Curiosity,” and lastly, mind-jarring changes that do not lose a hint of coherency. That's a nice touch for an avant-garde band, considering most others are just mind-jarring changes in tempo and stylization. However, these climaxes are, as I said, few and far between. And none amount to the loud bombastic rhythms present on “Marathon.” Neither do any of the interesting sections within this album compare with the-perhaps it is a piccolo paired with a trumpet, or a clarinet-solo arpeggio on “Manifold Curiosity.”
What should be interesting comes off more as pretentious and atmospheric as well. There are more vocal stylings and passages present than on any other Kayo Dot release, however, they do not match the croons on “Pitcher of Summer.” They don't compare to the raucous screams and practically wordless, meandering vocals that drag on beautifully on “Gemini Becoming The Tripod.” Instead, they can be compared with a Trelauney-esque poltergeist wandering throughout the Forbidden Forest in search of some other ignorant troll to annoy. I mean that in the best way possible however, because it's some of the most atmospheric vocalization present on the band's discography. And while I'm throwing the word “atmospheric” around as much as I am, I might as well come out and say it. This whole freaking album is atmospheric. It's like a much more innovative Low album, just with a different band playing the claustrophobic cavalcade that this album is. But it is the innovation and the atmosphere that make this album what it is, and while the amount of both of these elements are extreme and copious, it makes the album a worthwhile purchase, that and the fact that Toby Driver is greater than ninety-percent of humanity.
To close, the album is morose. The instrumentation often drags on, and is definitely more jazz-influenced than anything else that this band has written to date. The vocals are interesting to say the least, and whilst they are sub-par in comparison to Kayo Dot's previous affairs, they add to the lulling musical experience that is Blue Lambency Downward. However, I'd just like to quote Jane Austen, I believe it was Jane Austen, who said, “I do not write for dumb elves, who cannot think for themselves.” Perhaps Kayo Dot should return to their previous style of music to regain their position as advocates for this phrase, rather than the opposite.
FINAL RATING: 3.7/5.0-Perhaps the denizens do march toward those fumes we used to know.